Madrid, 30 November –The appointment had been fixed a while ago, but Stefano Domenicali’s participation at a Forum run by Spanish papers, Marca and El Mundo was also the first opportunity for an immediate comment on how the incident when Vettel passed Vergne at the Brazilian Grand Prix ended, after it had kicked up a lot of dust in the days immediately after the race.
“It was incumbent on us to ask the Federation for a clarification, given everything that was going round on the Internet, [that Vettel allegedly passed under a yellow flag]” said Domenicali. “We had no intention of belittling the merit of the title winner, but it was right to have the matter completely cleared up. The FIA has replied and we have noted their answer and now consider the matter to be closed.”
“It was an incredible season and I believe Fernando really deserved the title,” continued the Scuderia’s Team Principal. “I’m not just saying that because he is one of our drivers, because I share that opinion with the great majority of his colleagues and observers. What was missing? A quicker car and a bit of luck, given he pretty much did two races less than his competitors. Now, it’s down to us to give him and his team-mate Felipe Massa, who was great in the second part of the season, not just in terms of his results, but also as a team player, a better car, especially for qualifying. I’d score Fernando’s season a 10: he is a fantastic driver, who combines his amazing talent with our group of people, protective when he needs to be and pushing in the right direction when things are not going as they should. It’s a privilege to have him as part of our team. Yes, it’s now been two out of three times that we have ended up losing the title at the last race and that is hard, like a boxer getting a punch in the guts, but we are reacting and I can tell you that in Maranello, there is a great desire to win a return match. Next year, we want to win and to be the best.”
“In order to succeed in a complex sport like Formula 1, it’s not enough just to have a quick car: you also need to have the best driver and we have that, but you also need reliability, and be the best in terms of strategy, work during the pit stops and also a little bit of luck. In the championship that’s just ended, we definitely had the best driver, the best reliability and a level of excellence when it comes to the work on the pit wall and during the pit stops. What was lacking was the car, despite the fact we staged a recovery after the very complicated start. We also lacked a bit of luck, especially with the incidents at Spa and Suzuka. That’s why I’d give Ferrari a 7, however, I want to say I am proud, as is President Montezemolo, of the work we have done. Next year, we must try and improve in those areas where we don’t match the best, but at the same time, maintain our strong points.”
Domenicali also chose to reply in no uncertain terms to a question about all the politics, the very latest example being the one about the yellow and green flags, that has characterised the season. “It’s always difficult to understand where the limits are in a sport like Formula 1, especially on the technical front. However, one thing is certain; if one doesn’t trust the referees in sport, in this case the FIA, then it’s better to do something else.”